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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 20 - 5 J- 2 §20-5J-2. Legislative findings and purpose.

The Legislature finds that the proper and environmentally-sound disposal of infectious and noninfectious medical waste is an important issue facing all West Virginians.

The Legislature further finds that effective controls for the management of medical waste are necessary to ensure the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, and the environment.

The Legislature further finds that regulation of the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of medical waste is an important and necessary function of state government.

The Legislature further finds that toxic pollutants emitted by medical waste incinerators are an important public health hazard.

The Legislature further finds that commercial incineration of medical waste, and its transportation in the infectious state, pose a potentially serious threat to the health, safety and welfare of West Virginians.

The Legislature further finds that safe and cost-effective alternatives to the incineration of infectious and noninfectious medical waste should be encouraged.

The Legislature further finds that the public interest is best served by:

(1) Efforts to reduce the volume of medical waste generated at all levels;

(2) On-site separation and treatment of infectious medical waste;

(3) Treatment and disposal of infectious medical waste in local infectious medical waste management facilities; and

(4) Treatment and disposal in approved regional infectious waste management facilities when administrative proceedings result in a finding that on-site or local treatment of infectious medical waste is not feasible.

The Legislature further finds that local responsibility for the minimization in volume, and for the treatment and disposal of infectious and noninfectious medical waste is an important part of a sound and rational waste management program.

The Legislature further finds that small quantity generators of infectious medical waste should either render such waste noninfectious on-site, or properly label and package the waste for transportation to a local infectious waste management facility for proper treatment and disposal.

The Legislature further finds that generators of medical waste should be informed and educated in its management; that training should be provided to all workers likely to come in contact with medical waste, including in-home health care workers; and that relevant information on the potential for infection and disease related to medical waste should be made available to the general public, including in-home health care patients.

The Legislature further finds that the necessity for transporting infectious medical waste be minimized, and that any infectious medical waste transported be safely packaged and identified by source and content.

The Legislature further finds that public policy favors a reduction in the volume of infectious and noninfectious medical waste, the separation of infectious medical waste from noninfectious medical waste, and that efforts to reduce medical waste should be fostered and strongly encouraged at all levels of generation.

The Legislature further finds that noninfectious medical waste is solid waste.

The Legislature further finds that noninfectious medical waste should be handled by environmentally sound disposal technologies, and that alternative disposal technologies promoting safe recycling and limiting the need for incineration should be emphasized, developed and utilized.

Therefore, it is the policy of the state of West Virginia to prohibit commercial infectious medical waste facilities; to regulate and control the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of infectious and noninfectious medical waste; to reduce the generation of infectiousand noninfectious medical waste; to encourage local responsibility for the minimization, management and disposal of infectious and noninfectious medical waste; and to authorize the department of health and human resources to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this article.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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